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You’ve Graduated – What’s Next? Advice from Alums

By: Rachel Handel

June 7, 2016

You’ve done it. You’ve earned your degree and now it’s time to transition from student life to real-world adult life. For some, this can be a very stressful experience—leaving the comfort zone of classes and friends behind for a new adventure.

We spoke with graduates of The Art Institutes system of schools to get some advice on how to use the experiences gained in class—and within the schools’ creative community—to make a successful leap into the next phase of your creative life.

David Magnia earned an Associate of Applied Science in Video Production from The Art Institute of Dallas in 1998 (as of 2012, a campus of South University). Marlon Munoz a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics from Miami International University of Art & Design in 2008.

Keep stress at a minimum

Magnia says that many recent grads feel anxious because they believe they have to know it all. But you don’t have to. “Build strong relationships with other people that have skill sets you may not have. As you [move into] our career, you’ll find it far more rewarding to work together with a solid team of great people.”

Munoz agrees, adding that it’s important not to stress yourself out after graduation. One way to do this is to continue learning and growing, now that you’re outside of the school environment. “I was a self-taught designer and developer prior to attending school. You need to keep mastering your skill sets and becoming the best you can be without draining yourself. It’s basically a balance of life.”

Find freelance work or volunteer

Munoz says that he eased his transition from school to work life by taking on freelance clients prior to graduation.“ Since I had design experience, I was already working for clients in the design field. I positioned myself with a great presentation visually with print material and a strong reel.”

He adds that life after graduation is an opportunity to grow creatively, even if there are some bumps in the road “I furthered my skill sets in the real world. You’ll figure it out as you go.”

Stay focused on your goals

Magnia believes that staying focused can help recent grads to remain positive and motivated. And he asserts that a first job is not likely to be a dream job. The creative industry is highly competitive, and grads may need to volunteer time to build connections and gain experience.

“Do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door, even if it means you take a job you don’t want to [in order to gain experience for] a job you do want. Building a career takes time. Don’t be in a rush to get to the top because you might miss out on a great climb,” says Magnia.

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By: Rachel Handel

June 7, 2016

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